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Battersea reveals pets’ top 10 gut-busting food offenders

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has revealed the top 10 calorie-laden food offenders for dogs and cats, as it warns owners to ditch the biscuits, sausages and cheese from their pet’s diet.
The animal charity is calling on owners to address their pet’s diets and prevent an obesity crisis among the nation’s dogs and cats. It warns that half a tin of tuna is equivalent to a human dining out on a large cod n’ chips, while a 3cm cube of cheese equals a cup of molten fondue cheese. Even a well-meaning chipolata translates into a gut-busting 12oz steak on a human’s plate. 
It is an issue Battersea’s vets face on a regular basis, and one viewers will witness in Monday’s episode of Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs on ITV1. In the programme, Paul helps overweight Alaskan Malamute Honey with her weight maintenance programme, as she hits the doggy obstacle course in a bid to shed 14kg.
Battersea Vet Phil Robinson says: “The amount a pet needs to eat depends on its breed, age and size, but as a rough indication, a small dog only needs about 350 calories a day while a cat is looking at about 280 calories. So a slice of toast is equal to a third of the dog’s daily calories. Don’t fall for those appealing eyes when you’re eating your dinner, as your pet simply doesn’t need your scraps. Obesity can lead to a host of health problems and is a silent killer.”
Phil’s top 5 food offenders for dogs and cats are: (top 10 list in Notes to Editors with calorie breakdown)

Food offender:

The equivalent for a human:

Battersea Vet Phil Robinson says:

One chipolata

A 12oz steak

“Sausages are very fatty for animals, no matter how tasty they are. Swap them for a healthier sliver of ham.”

A 3cm cube of cheese

A whole cup of molten fondue cheese

“Cheese is made from milk, which contains lactose - a sugar that can accelerate dental disease.”

One custard cream

Half a pack of custard creams

“These are full of sugar, which dogs and cats don’t require. Stick to biscuits designed for animals.

A handful of ready salted crisps

A slice of pepperoni pizza

“Lots of people slip their pet a crisp without thinking, but it’s basically a disk of pure oil and salt. Avoid them at all costs.”

A slice of white bread or toast

Half a loaf of white bread

“Bread is high in calories and should be avoided. Animals can be intolerant to wheat, which can lead to skin flare-ups.”

Honey from the ITV1 series isn’t alone in her battle against the bulge. Battersea is currently caring for two plus-sized pets who are double their ideal body weight after feasting on too much human food.
Amie the five year old cat arrived at Battersea after her owner was made homeless. Tipping the scales at 8.9kg, she weighs the same as two normal cats, as she should be 4.8kg. On arrival Amie’s rear end and back had to be shaved as she is unable to clean herself and her coat was very matted. Her owner used to feed her whenever she meowed, and staff believe she used to eat human food, as she isn’t a fan of cat food. 
She is joined by overweight Tilly the 10 year old German Shepherd/Border Collie, who at 39.1kg weighs the same as 20 Chihuahuas, and needs to lose half her body weight. Tilly arrived after her owner passed away, and had sadly been unable to walk her. She is on a weight management programme, but like Aimee, she prefers human food, and often refuses to eat weight-loss dog food.
Phil says: “Amie and Tilly are now on strict diets and we’re encouraging them to become much more active in a bid to shed the pounds. Their new owners will need to be kind but fair, and not indulge them.”
To help pet’s stay trim, Phil has given his top feeding tips for owners:

  • It’s a common misconception that dogs and cats get bored with their food, but as long as there’s food, they’ll be happy.
  • Your dog or cat needs to eat a proper pet food. Ban all human food!
  • Stick to the food guidelines on your pet food. Most are based on your pet’s weight, so you can easily calculate the exact amount needed.
  • Any complete dog or cat food will meet your pet’s exact calorific requirements and nutritional needs, so you don’t need to top it up.
  • If your pet needs to lose weight give him the food allowance for his target weight, not his current weight.
  • If you are concerned about your pet’s weight always consult your vet.

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